No Joy This Fourth Of July
I've always enjoyed the Fourth of July.
It's summer, it's a festive holiday about celebration -- not mourning or remembrance -- and, as a military Veteran, it has been a time to feel good about whatever miniscule role I've played in maintaining our country's strength and freedom.
But I'm going to skip the barbeques and just go to work today. I do this because the state of my country under the reign of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their entire cabal of crooks and non-patriots, leaves me with a feeling so hollow and barren that I simply cannot use drinking a beer, eating a hot dog or watching fireworks as a soothing balm.
With Bush's effective pardon of Scooter Libby on Monday, he has once again acted on behalf of the American people with no regard for what the people actually want. Poll after poll has shown that Americans still cling to a belief in equal justice under the law and that letting Libby off the hook on perjury and obstruction of justice charges in the outing of a covert CIA agent is horribly wrong. But that doesn’t stop Bush from doing whatever he damn well pleases to help his cronies and appease his political benefactors.
The overwhelming majority of the country now also knows the truth of the Iraq occupation and made clear in the last election what is expected of our leaders in ending that disaster. The American people know that the White House cooked the intelligence books to make a bogus case for war against a country that posed no threat whatsoever to the United States and by far most Americans want us out of Iraq as soon as possible.
It is the same thing with the way most of us feel about the promise held in the science of stem cell research and the huge nationwide support for raising the federal minimum wage, which have both been fought tooth and nail by Bush and the Republican party.
No matter how we the people want to be governed or how we decide we want our country to look, Bush sticks stubbornly to what he wants, to what he mandates and what he decides in his delusional world of absolute power and authority over all he surveys.
It's a bitter irony that what we celebrate today is deliverance from just such an absolute power and authority in the form of King George III, about whom the Founding Fathers railed in the majority of the Declaration of Independence and from whom they declared our freedom. We broke away from the colonial rule of a tyrant and, in the preamble to this sacred document, we stated that our leaders are ultimately governed by those for which government is created and that those elected president get "their just powers from the consent of the governed."
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.We declared our break from a monarch, an absolute ruler, in 1776 when the 13 colonies risked it all to repudiate that form of government and to say that the leader of what would become the new United States of America should listen to the will of the people and not the other way around.
One has to wonder what Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Hancock and the other Founding Fathers would think of where we're at, 231 years later, if they could see the vision of Democracy they cherished so soiled and the 43rd president known not at all for his wisdom and entirely for his outrageous abuse of power.
George W. Bush has taken our country and made us despised throughout the world, ruined our global reputation in a way that may take a generation to salvage and made us far less safe in a dangerous world. Indeed, he has used our nation's wealth and power to make the world a more dangerous place.
His administration has also found a way to diminish a great holiday like our Independence Day, to make us feel less like proudly waving our flag and to even cause many like me, who have worn our country's uniform, to wonder what the hell it was for.
And, for that, every American who voted for Bush, should take time this July Fourth to perform a truly patriotic act and be profoundly ashamed.